REELING from the departure of key players, Adamson and Jose Rizal U are in for a tough challenge, even as Arellano U unveils a new coach when they see action in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Pre Season Cup starting April 14.
The Falcons absorbed a blow in the backcourt with playmakers Jerrick Canada and Lester Alvarez no longer with the team along with Jan Colina after they used up their playing years.
Still, coach Leo Austria believes the Falcons, who reached the Final Four last season, have a formidable roster with Alex Nuyles, Allen Etrone and Eric Camson leading the way.
“I hope the other players step up,” said Austria, bracing his wards for a dogfight in the tournament presented by Bostik Philippines Inc in cooperation with Total Philippines Inc.
“The good thing for us is we’ll still have Alex (Nuyles) and Eric (Camson) with us.”
The tournament, backed by BDO, Bayo and Molten and minor sponsors Oxycan, Bagoong Club Resto, Union Bank and Bacchus Energy Drink, will also see the coaching return of veteran tactician Koy Banal.
A winner of titles with San Beda and Far Eastern U, Banal is at the helm of the Arellano Chiefs, who are looking to make an impact in the preseason tournament after missing out on the Final Four last season.
Semifinalists in the NCAA last season, the Bombers are hard-pressed to at least duplicate the finish and they intend to sharpen their roster in the tournament following the departure of three players from their rotation.
The Bombers hope to draw firepower from Nate Matute, Alex Almario, Ronnel Carampil and John Lopez as they fill the void left by Jeckster Apinan, Raycon Kabigting and John Montemayor.
“It’s hard to predict where we stand right now since we’re still in the process of completing the team,” said Jose Rizal U coach Vergel Meneses.